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I’m a Democrat, not a socialist

Published 8:44am Thursday, June 5, 2014

I’ve been accused by some of my conservative readers of being a socialist, even though I don’t consider myself a socialist. I am a progressive and I do hold many of the same ideas.

Calling a progressive a socialist is no more productive than calling someone who subscribes to the Tea Party mindset a Nazi or fascist and will only lead to more divisiveness. But to make it clear, I do believe in America and I do believe capitalism made this nation great, but I do not believe in a free market economy unfettered by regulation.

The fact of the matter is big business has not proven to be responsible.

Many Americans forget that our government is a social democracy that takes the important aspects of both capitalism and socialism and blends them into one, creating one of the greatest democratic governments the world has ever known.

When I was in school I remember learning about the evils of socialism. Too often socialism is confused with communism.

Throughout world history, dictators such as Adolf Hitler, Fidel Castro and Joseph Stalin have used the term “socialism” in the names of their parties, but none of the governments these men belong had anything to do with true socialism and had more to do with their thirst for individual power.

Even though true socialism does lead to big bloated government it is also rooted in democracy and meant to follow the will of the people and can be altered to meet their needs. Some of the socialist reforms that have been instituted in America are the five-day workweek, labor unions, social security, Wall Street reforms, child labor laws and unemployment benefits.

In a truly capitalist government none of these reforms would exist and none of us would be making a livable wage.

One of the great things about this nation is its ability to adapt and America was able to avoid the social upheavals that Europe experienced in the nineteenth century by legalizing labor unions and instituting industrial reforms both are socialist in nature and has led to great prosperity for the American people.

It’s unfortunate that we’ve allowed the paranoia and unjustified persecutions of the Red Scares in the 20th Century to gain such a toehold in the collective thinking of our nation.

I refuse to demonize a form of government that has been successful throughout the world because of a group of small-minded men feel threatened and are only interested in generating profits. Their laissez-faire mindset has led to the great depression and the great recession and their demand for excessive profit would put all of us in jeopardy again.

These are the same types of men that said cigarettes were harmless even though they knew full well they caused cancer and hired unscrupulous scientist to testify to that fact.

I’m not a socialist but I embrace any theory that seeks to help people and ensures that everyone in this country gets a fair deal.

 

William Crandell is a community activist and member of the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Democratic Party. He is also a member of the South County Democratic Club where he has served as their communications director and as the chairperson of the SCDC Blue Tiger Community Action Committee.

 

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